Thai Union Group PCL has announced its intention to ensure 100 percent of its branded tuna is sustainably sourced, with a commitment of achieving a minimum of 75 percent by 2020.
The pledge will apply to all of the seafood company’s tuna brands sold around the world, including Chicken of the Sea and Genova in the North American market, John West in Northern Europe and the Middle East, Mareblu in Italy, Petit Navire in France and SEALECT in Thailand.
Each of these brands will publically report on a regular basis on their progress against the 2020 commitment, the company said.
As part of its new tuna strategy, Thai Union will invest USD 90 million (EUR 84.8 million) in initiatives aimed at increasing the supply of sustainable tuna, including establishing 11 new fishery improvement projects (FIPs) around the world.
“Tuna is the most readily available source of protein for millions of people around the world, and at least one billion depend on seafood for nourishment or employment. As a leader in the seafood industry, Thai Union has a responsibility to protect tuna stocks for the good of the world,” said Thiraphong Chansiri, CEO of Thai Union Group. “Our substantial investment will transform tuna sourcing for the entire industry and demonstrates our strong commitment to the sustainability of our oceans.”
Thai Union defines sustainably sourced tuna as tuna from fisheries that are either already certified according to the standards of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) or are involved in a FIP that is working towards achieving standards required for MSC certification.
“Currently only 11 tuna fisheries globally are MSC-certified, supplying just 14 percent of globally landed tuna. Our commitment and strategy will have a positive impact on the entire industry by significantly increasing the supply of sustainable tuna available to the seafood processors, retailers and, ultimately, consumers,” said Darian McBain, global director for sustainable development at Thai Union.
Alongside its FIP funding, Thai Union is investing in trials of new digital technology to improve transparency in the supply chain. With 100 percent digital traceability, the company can address illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing through tracking and ensuring vessels comply with all regulations and monitoring the labor standards that are in place along the supply chain.
Other measures include only sourcing tuna from large-scale purse seiners that are registered on the proactive vessel register (PVR), run by the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF).